Tips on Selling a Home with Pets

When pet owners put their homes up for sale, it’s best to make those beloved animals disappear without a trace. The dog beds, the cat crates, the hair, the chew marks and the smell all need to be removed before the first showing. Here’s a step-by-step guide on selling your home with pets.

Priority one: odor and stain removal. Even a pet-loving buyer will be turned off if the house smells. Pet and smoking odors rate as top turnoffs. You may have become “nose blind” to your pets’ smells, so have a friend do a sniff check.

  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned with enzyme solutions that remove organic smells and stains.
  • Keep pet bedding clean and ready to stash in your car when notified of a showing. The same goes for food and water bowls.
  • Bath dogs weekly. Unbathed dogs smell and the odor can work into carpet, cloth upholstery and drapery. Inside cats rarely need bathing, but if they do, a rubdown with a wet towel is a good option.

Hair removal. While on the market, vacuum and sweep daily to remove pet hair. Chase down dust and hair bunnies under furniture. Wipe down cabinets and shelves. Brush your pet two or three times per week to limit shedding.

Repair damage. If the dog has chewed the woodwork or walls, make all repairs before showing the house. If your hardwood floors are noticeably scratched, refinish them or risk buyers walking away. Any signs of pet damage may cause buyers to pass on your house, questioning what other issues may be lurking.

Clean up your yard.  Remove dog waste daily. If your animals have torn up the lawn, it’s best to reseed or lay sod.

Vacate the premises. Your pets — and all their belongings — should be removed from the house during showings. Besides being a turn off, you don’t want to risk a pet biting or scratching prospective buyers or their children. You also don’t want them to be a distraction to buyers. Ask that your home be shown by appointment only and then be prepared to load up your pets and all their gear when you get the call. If that’s not possible, make arrangements with a friend, relative or neighbor to keep your pets during showings.

Find other things that might scare buyers off during a showing here.